As I prepare to leave on my mission, this is something I certainly worry about. I could pray for ugly companions, but rather, I desire to love my companions fully and completely. My thoughts on this topic have been shaped by (Gay) Mormon Guy’s post Learning toLove. He acknowledges that love is good; love is what we are called to do. He further identifies different levels or depths of love. The first level desires present happiness (for the other), the second level desires future happiness and the third level desires eternal happiness. In true love, present happiness is sacrificed for eternal happiness.
I was at the thrift store the yesterday, a thrift store where one of the workers has previously flirted with me. Ha, I flatter myself. She probably has never flirted with me. She is just friendly, and good at her job, and I choose to interpret her actions as coquettish. I was at the thrift store, she was at the thrift store and how I longed for her to approach me, give me her attention, whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I thought of what I could say to here, but mostly I was thinking about what I wanted her to say to me. I tried to distance myself from the situation and figure out what I really wanted. My actions were not out of a desire for the eternal happiness of the woman at the thrift store, I didn’t even desire her present happiness. My thoughts were completely selfish. I wanted her to make me feel special. I have a long ways to go.
Alma 38:12 has a lot of missionary applications. It says “Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.” If I let my passions run wild, I will be anything but filled with love. But, if I bridle my passions, if I desire for my companions, more than anything, their eternal happiness, my thoughts and my actions will reflect that.
When I start falling in love with my companions, the solution isn’t to stop loving them, but to love them completely, selflessly, to see them as Jesus Christ sees them. The answer might be that simple. The actual act of putting off the natural man will be more difficult, but with prayer and humility, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, it is possible.